Fact of the day: 16th June

On this day in 1722 John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, English general and politician, died.

John Churchill was an English soldier and statesman whose career spanned the reigns of five monarchs.

Rising from a lowly page at the court of the House of Stuart, he served James, Duke of York, through the 1670s and early 1680s, earning military and political advancement through his courage and diplomatic skill.

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Churchill’s role in defeating the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685 helped secure James on the throne, yet just three years later he abandoned his Catholic patron for the Protestant Dutchman, William of Orange.

Honoured for his services at William’s coronation with the earldom of Marlborough, he served with further distinction in the early years of the Nine Years’ War, but persistent charges of Jacobitism brought about his fall from office and temporary imprisonment in the Tower.

It was not until the accession of Queen Anne in 1702 that Marlborough reached the zenith of his powers and secured his fame and fortune.

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